Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yet Another Anti-Gay Preacher Caught in Homosexual Scandal

Rev. Lonnie W. Latham, a fierce anti-gay Christian who wants to "convert" gays to a heterosexual lifestyle, was busted for trying to suck a cop's dick in Oklahoma City:

The Rev. Lonnie W. Latham had supported a resolution calling on gays and lesbians to reject their "sinful, destructive lifestyle" before his Jan. 3, 2006, arrest outside the Habana Inn in Oklahoma City.

Authorities say he asked the undercover policeman to come up to his hotel for oral sex.

I suppose it's kind of hard for a man to scream, "repent, faggots!" when he simultaneously has a penis in his mouth. Why is it that all the homophobe Christians are the ones secretly committing homosexual acts? It seems to me that the Christian males who don't mind homosexuals so much aren't the ones getting busted for sucking dick.

These patterns totally repeat themselves. Some Christians preach against divorce while the most divorce ridden areas are the Christian areas. The same thing goes for abortions: Christian areas have more of them!

Sure, Christians will say that they are sinners too. But this is not the point. The point here is that the Christians are the ones who are not only hypocritical, but more importantly they are the ones doing more of the very activity that they claim everyone should be doing less of! And to top it off they blame the "secular progressives" for these problems that clearly afflict them the most!

If you are a Christian, and you got problems with being gay, or doing drugs, or getting divorced, or having abortions, or whatever, then maybe the trick is for you to not be Christian anymore. At least that way you will statistically be less likely to do the very activity that you hate.

P.S. I think it is a crying shame that this man is in trouble with the law for trying to suck dick. While he should definitely be "outed," he shouldn't have been arrested.

Blind Man's Bluff

I would like to point out this great article from Ex-Christians: Blind Man's Bluff. It is an excellent illustration of the depraved epistemic position that believers must uphold in order to maintain their belief.

And I am informed that God defines absolute morality. But then I view actions in the Tanakh that go against the moral intuition he allegedly gave me. Things like asking a person to perform human sacrifice to prove their loyalty. Genocides. Hardening hearts. When I ask about those things, that don’t seem very moral to me, I am told I must accept God as moral, and while it doesn’t appear moral, God had to have a moral reason for it.

O.K. got it. Check. Can’t recognize God by morality.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Right For The Wrong Reasons

Dr. Gary Merrill of Christian Medical Services, a Christian pediatrician in Bakersfield, California turned away a child with an ear infection because her mother has tattoos. According to a sign posted on his office:

“This is a private office. Appearance and behavior standards apply.”

This refers to a "dress code" of sorts that Dr. Merrill enforces in his office, in which no tattoos, no body piercings, and a host of other requirements based on his Christian faith are necessary to receive treatment. Now, obviously Dr. Merrill is running a private office, and has the right to establish whatever criteria he wants for it- restaurants, after all, can enforce their own dress codes, and most business establishments have at least a "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policy. So I have no problem with Dr. Merrill not wanting to sully his office with the "unclean" masses who have engaged in some form of body modification (although I'm not sure if he allows ear piercings, and if so, why there's a difference- after all, there are a number of fundamentalist Christian women I know that will not pierce their ears). Hell, he could even explicitly preclude any atheists from treatment for all I care. There are many other physicians, and certainly plenty of them are competent, and not quite so discriminating.

But then P.Z. Myers of Pharyngula made a good point- according to Christianity, Jesus told a parable in which a man was robbed, beaten, and left for dead- and two individuals who were too concerned about staying away from "unclean" people passed right by, while someone who was divorced from the official Jewish religious system went beyond expectations to heal and help the victim. The parable is represented thusly in Luke 10:

Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.' Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands? And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."

As there is a clear directive from Jesus to show mercy to anyone, regardless of their social status, it seems pretty clear that Dr. Merrill isn't being completely consistent with his Christianity. So even though I support Dr. Merrill's exclusionary policy as a statement of his freedom to do business with whom he chooses, it seems that he's doing so for all the wrong reasons.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Question of the Day #68: God in your image

Describe the God that you would like to have, and why.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Antichrist Problem

I'm in Miami right now, and there's an interesting phenomenon here that's been going on here for some time that I've been aware of, but my proximity to it has prompted some questions on my part.

For those of you that don't know, Dr. Jose Luis de Jesús Miranda is the Antichrist.

Now, clearly, this gentleman is either certifiably insane, or he's one of the slickest scammers on the planet. But the presence of guys like this presents an interesting problem for Christian eschatology- if Christians are expecting an Antichrist, how will they know when he comes?

Now, I realize that there is a distinction between "antichrists" and "The Antichrist." In Matthew 24, Jesus warns that "false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect." Of course, Dr. Miranda has a response to this:
The Apostle Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda has not appeared to perform signs and wonders, He has arisen to reveal specific information of the authentic gospel of the uncircumcision (Galatians 2:7) written in the 14 epistles of the Apostle Paul, signs and wonders are not sufficient to claim you’re in the truth of the gospel. Peter performed many miracles, yet The Apostle Paul rebuked him to the face for not walking upright according to the truth of the gospel (Galatians 2:11-14) therefore these verses do not apply to the man Christ Jesus. In his first coming he performed many signs, in his second, he would appear with power, with the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16), it is written that God himself would judge the secrets of men with the gospel of Paul (Romans 2:16), We hope that the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened to discover that the Lord Jesus Christ has returned.
That's all well and good, and far be it from me to intercede when different groups of Christians squabble over their respective interpretations of their sacred writings, so instead of pressing the "is Dr. Miranda an antichrist?" question, how about the "is Dr. Mirando the Antichrist?" The guy is clearly taking several cues from Revelation, including persuading his followers to have "666" tattooed on their bodies, as a sign of their allegiance to him.

Now, what I find interesting (and what I tried to ignore as much as possible when I was a Christian) is, how would Christians be able to tell if someone was The Antichrist or not? The entire length of Revelation reads like the fevered dream of a schizophrenic, and even the most literal Christians exercise some metaphorical license when studying it, so how can we make any sense of it at all? In the popular "Left Behind" series of religious fiction novels, the Antichrist is the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and this is an opinion that is shared widely among Christians. Why should it be some foreign diplomat whose only qualification is the international power at his disposal, and not a Puerto Rican preacher in Miami, who claims to be Jesus Christ reborn and the Antichrist in one man, and whose followers blaspheme orthodox Christianity and tattoo the number of the Beast on their bodies?

I would think that Christians who took their faith seriously would consider a guy like Dr. Miranda, even if he is a nutjob, to at least be a potential threat. And even if the Antichrist is a theological necessity, much like the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, it should at least be celebrated. After all, the appearance of the Antichrist is part of the sequence of events that heralds the return of the bona fide Christ, is it not?

The absurdity of an "atheist movement"

For any mass movement to emerge to prominence and come to be accepted by the average man, it must impose its moral necessity, and it must have the means to manifest itself.

The movement to strip kings of their power and replace them by a sprawling bureaucracy both reflected a presumed moral necessity (to give "the people" power instead of an arbitrary king) and had the political and military means to manifest itself. So, unfortunately, it succeeded.
The anti-slavery movement reflected the moral necessity of abolishing the extreme inequality and classism entailed by slavery, and through difficult and long travails, came to fruition, toppling an institution as old as civilization.
The modern "environmentalist movement" has been tremendously successful because it took a widespread moral malaise of the modern man (that he lives in an "inferior" state to that of nature, that technology is vaguely dangerous) and turned it into a movement which fuels itself by scaring people. So far, it works.

Any assumed "atheist movement" has neither of these qualities. There is no perceived moral necessity in spreading atheism; rather the contrary, as most people believe atheism to be immoral, even atheists themselves. So far, the only "cause" atheists have latched on is the separation of church and State, which, apart from being a ridiculous idea, already failed a century ago and is no longer an ongoing concern. The relationship between the State and religion has become too subtle to sustain moral outrage. It is a stillborn "cause."

As for means, well... a few YouTube videos are not going to cause a revolution.

Hopefully the self-important bloggers (who are also just as insignificant) who rant about the Blasphemy Challenge will stop hassling teenagers trying to express their identity, and turn to more productive things.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Drunk Loser Tries to Descend to Hell; Fails

Check out this clown:

Just a month after his 16-story fall and merciful landing onto a hotel overhang, Joshua Hanson is off crutches from a broken leg, mostly healed from his other injuries and thankful he has no memory of the plunge.


Hanson recalls drinking with his pals at a couple of bars in St. Paul before going back to the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency. They stopped by a darts tournament at the hotel before heading to their rooms in the early morning hours.

"Then we come back off the elevator and that's when, for whatever reason ... I decided to take off running," Hanson said. "I don't know why I took off running or what really led up to it, but -- I did."

Sprinting down the hallway alone, he said he was confused by the reflection on the windowpane at the end. With a crash, the 275-pound former prep football player and wrestler broke through a double-paned window with a safety bar.

He fell onto an asphalt-covered overhang one floor above the street. The overhang probably saved his life because it helped cushion his fall, according to emergency officials and a physics professor.

But that isn't even the best part. Here is the money shot:

Asked if he could explain why he survived, Hanson said: "I wish I knew, for real I do. Somebody had a plan for me."


"I went to church the first Sunday I got home, no doubt about it," he said. "There ain't too many days go by that I don't thank God that I'm still here."

Emphasis mine.

Yea pal, someone sure had a plan for you, and that plan was to send you to Hell by dropping you 16 stories. Lucky for you, your forced deportation to Hell was foiled by a thoughtful architect who put an overhang in the way.

Now why doesn't anybody who goes through something like this ever think about it the other way? Why isn't this bum thanking the architect? How exactly does this guy figure that God is the one who saved, rather than tried to extinguish, his life? If he said that he can't even recall the fall, nor why or how he decided to run into the window, isn't it reasonable for him to suppose that God possessed him at that moment and caused him to take the plunge?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Question of the Day #67: A Christian Nation

The United States of America is claimed by many conservative Christians to be a "Christian nation," implying that it was founded on principles of Christianity. Others have argued that it was not the intention of the "Founding Fathers" to create a nation for and by Christians and/or, even if it was their intention, we as a modern society embracing diversity should reject the notion. Yet despite the legal status of religious discrimination in the government, there has never in more than 200 years been a non-Christian President, and very few non-Christians are voted into other national offices.

So getting to the actual question, do you think that the United States is a Christian nation in practice if nothing else, and what does this imply for non-Christian U.S. citizens today and in the near future?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mondo Diablo 42: Women's Work

Sexy Housefrau

If your husband says it's okay, Download Here

Friday, February 16, 2007

Militant Atheists

We here at GTA have been accused of being "militant" atheists. I suppose it could be argued that our passion for freedom, individuality, and rational thought could be seen as aggression towards systems like Christianity, but the closest we've come to any semblance of activism has been our "War on Relativism." Ironically enough, these accusations tend to come from Christians who are themselves extremely aggressive and active against atheists, so it may just be run-of-the-mill projection.

However, it should be noted that there are, in fact, literal "militant" atheists:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Secular Coalition for America has a new coalition member -- the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF). MAAF joins with the other members of the coalition, which include: the American Humanist Association, Atheist Alliance International, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Institute for Humanist Studies, Secular Student Alliance, Secular Web (Internet Infidels), and the Society for Humanistic Judaism. The Secular Coalition for America is the nation's first lobbying organization that works to increase the visibility and respectability of nontheistic viewpoints in the United States and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all.

The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is a community support network that connects military members from around the world with each other and with local organizations. In addition to community services, MAAF takes action to educate both the military and civilian community about atheism in the armed forces and the issues faced by atheist service members. MAAF identifies, examines, and responds to military practices that unconstitutionally promote religion over nonreligion or discriminate against the nonreligious as well as religious minorities. MAAF supports the First Amendment right of freedom of conscience for all service members.

MAAF clearly embraces the Secular Coalition for America's goal of respecting individuals' right to celebrate their backgrounds and to enjoy whatever traditions they choose -- while, at the same time, steadfastly working to ensure that no religion imposes itself on our government.

Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition for America expressed her pleasure regarding the expansion of the coalition: "I am very proud of the men and women who serve in our armed forces and I'm thrilled that MAAF provides a community of support, and a voice, for those members who do not hold a god belief. There are indeed atheists in foxholes and MAAF's efforts will ensure that their contributions are no longer overlooked."

Jason Torpy, president of MAAF, stated, "My group has benefited greatly from the work of the Secular Coalition for America and we are excited to become an official member of the organization. We will provide support and a constituency of service members and veterans to ensure that our political leaders act on the coalition's important message."

Visit for more information on the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and for the Secular Coalition for America. A joint message from the presidents of both organizations can be found here:

For more information contact Lori Lipman Brown at 202-299-1091.

It's a good reminder that there are very often atheists in foxholes, one of which, as a matter of fact, happens to be my good friend and cousin.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Firefly515 "Loves" Atheists

David B. Pearson was kind enough to upload a YouTube video of a user named Firefly515 who claims to love atheists, yet simultaneously demonizes them. To his credit, he seems well meaning. The problem here is that all his premises are messed up, and by his own admission, the atheists that he is interacting with are nice people. Where are his atheist demons that want to destroy his children and his way of life? Incidentally, Firefly515 cheered the YouTube banning of Nick Ginsberg.

Anyway, press play and observe the insanity:

Hellbound Alleee says: "Leave our kids alone!"

Hellbound Alleee says precisely the thing that needs to be said, at the moment it needs to be said:

I've been reading posts at various blogs about the debate over the Blasphemy Challenge particularly at Debunking Christianity. Some say that the Blasphemy Challenge is a bad move in some political game "we" are playing to get atheists liked by Christians, or "America," or something like that.
Many of these individuals making the statement are asserting something so much more important than joining some "movement" called capital A "atheism." It's almost opposite: they are claiming moral independance for themselves. They are pointing an accusing finger, yes, at the systems that claim to own them, but it's much more important that they are saying to themselves "I am now responsible for my life, not a god," and probably not anyone else.

To take this away from these individuals and suck them into a "movement" that can take credit for their courage and use them to attain power is pretty hypocritical. If they want to lose their identities in a Group, that's their choice. But just because that's the way the Others sees it is not a justification for it. They cut themselves off from imaginary entities. Why would anyone want to suck them into another imaginary entity called "Atheism," except to get political power? I see it as dueling ghosts against ghosts: the State, the Church, Jesus, and The Interest Group. (Also "radicals," "centrists," and "extremists.") What about People?

These people- Chris Hallquist, James Lazarus, Brian Flemming, Ed Brayton, and so on- even if some support the Challenge, all miss the point. They are Old Thinkers, and none of them were born with the Internet nor realize what the Internet represents for the new generation. The Blasphemy Challenge is not about you or your non-existing "atheist movement," and if you say so you are slapping all of the honest, heart-felt Challenge participants in the face. They did it in order to affirm themselves and their independence from belief. They don't think about a movement that does not exist, or keep an eye on a public opinion they don't care a whit about.

New Thinkers understand that the Internet is not a better way to serve movements and collectives. The Internet is a way for the individual to empower himself. This is why the Internet is on the side of the individualist, not the collectivist, whatever the latter's religion or lack thereof.

Atheist Old Thinkers are trying to co-opt the energy of these young and brave people for their own agendas. As a Market Anarchist and an anti-collectivist, I say with Hellbound Alleee:


Quash the politicos on both sides before they start oppressing individual atheists who just want to express themselves, just like the "gay movement" did and the "black movement" is still doing.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Richard Dawkins and The God Delusion

This video is an interview of Richard Dawkins talking about his book The God Delusion. I bought the book, read it, and loved it. I would recommend it to both atheists and theists, if for nothing other than for one to understand what exactly is spearheading the new atheist movement. Because let's face it, Richard Dawkins has definitely increased both public awareness of atheism and it's popularity to new heights.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

St-Valentine's Day: Selfish love v "universal love"

St-Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and thus this is a good occasion to remind ourselves of what the day is all about.

Valentine's Day, like many other holidays on the Christian calendar, is of pagan origins.

All ancient societies celebrated love days in the spring to ensure the fertility of crops and the birth of babies.

The Babylonians had a feast for Ishtar and Tammuz; the Egyptians for Isis and Osiris; Indians for Kara; and the Greeks for Proapus, Demeteer and Dionysus. Ancient societies were very concerned about fertility, so these spring rites were celebrated through dances, dramas and incantations to control the unpredictable forces of nature.

When Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. When Valentine was caught performing marriages in secret, the emperor sentenced him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards –beheaded. The happy event took place on February 14, around the year 270. Nice. How do you get from what is, lets face it, a pretty grizzly execution, to dopey couples staring love struck into each others eyes?

Ironically, I know. Mid February was traditionally the time of the Lupercian festival, an ode to the God of fertility and a celebration of sensual pleasure, a time to meet and court a prospective mate. In AD 496, the Pope of the time outlawed the pagan festival, but replaced it with a similar celebration that he deemed morally suitable. Therefore he needed a "lovers" saint to replace the pagan deity Lupercus. The martyred Bishop Valentine was chosen as the patron saint of the new festival – because of his involvement in uniting young lovers, and also because before his execution, Valentine himself had fallen in love with his jailer's daughter. He signed his final note to her, "From Your Valentine", a phrase that has lasted until today.

Unfortunately for the Pope, people didn’t emulate the life of the saint as he hoped they would. Instead they latched onto the more romantic aspects of Saint Valentines life. While not immediately as popular as the more passionate pagan festival, eventually the concept of celebrating true love became known as Valentine's Day.

A "pagan" holiday co-opted by the Christians for their own fanatic purposes. Where have we heard this before? Oh yea, that's how every single "Christian holiday" started. Zero points for originality, godboys! Fortunately, we seculars are just as good at co-opting stupid Christian holidays for our own purposes. St-Valentine's Day is, fortunately, not about marriage or getting executed: it's about love, an emotion which finds its only true expression in the materialist worldview.

Love is about recognizing your values in other things or people, about sharing these values with those people. Love is a personal connection between two individuals. When shared, love is a union between two individuals, when their interests intertwine and they share purpose. It is the highest level of sharing.

The religious concept of love (agape) represents blind unconditional acceptance. One is supposed to "love God" (how does one love something which is unfathomable and with which one cannot interact?), "love one's enemies," "love one's neighbours," as a duty, with no eye to one's values. This is natural, since Christianity is anti-values and anti-individualist. It would hardly behoove such a nasty belief system to affirm any kind of love. The love they propose, this agape, has nothing to do with love. The best word to describe it is insanity.

Love is not sacrificing; rather, it is one of the most selfish emotions of all. We love people because they bring us great joy and comfort, not because it is our duty. Love out of duty and belief is worthless. Why would I want anyone to love me because it is their duty? The very notion is nauseating (but then again, so is most of Christianity).

By the way, the Cupid comes from Greek mythology, too. No surprises here either!

Bad Religion, Good Science

Greg Graffin, lead singer of Bad Religion, recently completed his PhD in evolutionary paleontology at Cornell University. Greg's thesis was entitled "Monism, Atheism and the Naturalist Worldview: Perspectives from Evolutionary Biology". Here is a video summarizing his thesis:

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Onion Readers Speak Out on Haggard

Here's what people on The Onion have to say about Haggard's rediscovered heterosexuality.

Procreation Initiative: Funny but Immoral

One of the common arguments lodged against same-sex marriage is the following: "but they can't have children."

This argument is an obvious non sequitur- many different-sex married couples cannot, or choose not to have children, so should their marriages be considered any less valid?

Well, according to the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance, they should be.

This group, which was formed in response to the Washington State Supreme Court decision to uphold its ban on same-sex marriages, has just filed Initiative 957, which if passed, will:

  • add the phrase, “who are capable of having children with one another” to the legal definition of marriage
  • require that couples married in Washington file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage automatically annulled
  • require that couples married out of state file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage classed as “unrecognized”
  • establish a process for filing proof of procreation
  • make it a criminal act for people in an unrecognized marriage to receive marriage benefits

According to Gregory Gadow, the organizer of the WA-DOMA:

For many years, social conservatives have claimed that marriage exists solely for the purpose of procreation... The time has come for these conservatives to be dosed with their own medicine. If same-sex couples should be barred from marriage because they can not have children together, it follows that all couples who cannot or will not have children together should equally be barred from marriage.

The guy's logic is solid, and I can't help but admire the way in which he's really reflected his opponents' words to give clarity to the issue, but come on- the enactment of this initiative won't do anything more to help same-sex couples fulfill their values, and it's just going to infringe on the values of more people. In the struggle to realize freedom for all people regardless of orientation, proposals like Initiative 957 may be funny, but any serious effort directed on its part is immoral.

Holy Christian Beatdown

In Cobb County, Georgia, the same mecca of rationality that declared all biology books must be labeled to protect the dear, innocent children from the dangerous message of evolutionary theory, a couple faces a murder charge stemming from the deadly discipline used on their son, inspired by the teachings of their unique Christian church.

Sonya and Joseph Smith, of the Remnant Fellowship Church (also of the "Weigh Down Workshop" weight-loss plan), followed along with the church's policy of physically disciplining children with strikes from foot-long glue sticks. According to this article:

On Oct. 8, 2003, emergency crews were called to the Smiths' home in Georgia after the couple reported Josef was having trouble breathing. He died the next day at an Atlanta hospital.

Sonya Smith told police that on the day he died the couple had disciplined Josef with a series of glue-stick whippings, delivered in increments of 10. She said the boy was locked in a closet and made to pray to a picture of Jesus affixed to the ceiling. He was monitored in the kitchen via a camera in the closet.

Laura Boone, a 17-year old who used to babysit for Remnant families, testified about what she saw when hired to work at a Remnant church function:

"There were more than 20 kids total there," she said. "All the adults were getting ready to go into the worship room, and Josef Jr. was crying really hard in the corner. I asked his dad what he wanted me to do, and he looked right at me, and he hit his fist into his hand really hard."

Boone said Smith Sr. told her to hit his son, "Hit him hard," she recalled Smith telling her.

"I just told him I didn't feel comfortable hitting his son," she said. "So, he took Josef in the little room next door, and we could hear Josef crying really hard and his dad hitting him."

Boone said Josef returned to the nursery area still crying but with no visible marks on his body.

That was the last time Boone or her friends accepted a baby-sitting job at Remnant or for a Remnant family, she said.

The church seems to be an odd weight-loss group/fundamentalist Christian cult of some sort:

Like other members, Steve Miozzi and his wife joined Remnant after taking a Weigh Down class at their church in east Cleveland, Ohio. He said he and his wife were initially enthralled.

"You walked into the church, and you thought this is what heaven must look like," said Betsy Miozzi.

Everyone was thin, their teeth white, the children well behaved, and many appeared to be financially successful, she said. And everyone was "lovebombing" the couple, she said, using the church's terminology for friendly embracing of new visitors.

But when Steve Miozzi sought help on how to deal with an 11-year-old boy misbehaving during worship services, he said he was told by church leader Ted Anger to beat the back of the boy's thighs with a glue stick. If the boy didn't behave he was to keep repeating the procedure, and if the boy continued to misbehave he was to put him in a room with nothing but a Bible, Miozzi said.

Miozzi says that when he visited the Brentwood church for worship services, there were "glue sticks sticking out of diaper bags" in the aisles.

Anger dismissed Miozzi's account last week, saying he never prescribed a specific way to spank a child.

"I didn't sit there and give people manual instructions about discipline," Anger said. "It's always been about teaching principles. It's about putting the parents back in control with love and boundaries."

Child discipline is not what Miozzi says prompted him and his wife to leave the church.

They left after three years because of a church philosophy that he said did not allow any questioning of church leaders. The strict obedience to their authority "destroyed my personal relationship with Jesus Christ," he said.

Also, he said, he was taken to task for not losing enough weight.

But according to Remnant's leader, Gwen Shamblin:

Spanking a child is very different from hitting a child. Hitting is not spanking. Hitting is inflicting pain in anger. Spanking is a reluctant feeling that is necessary, and it does hurt the parent more than the child.

Spanking is a time-tested, ancient teaching from the Bible… Every child is different, and some parents in the Remnant, all they have to do is give the child a disapproving look, and some children are strong-willed. Teaching and constant direction in the form of both positive and, very occasionally negative, reinforcement is the most loving way to raise a child.

Call it what you want; I think it's clear that if you cause a child's death, you've done something immoral.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

They Fixed Haggard!

Update: Unconfirmed reports have stated that Haggard's intensive hetero-therapy team was trained by John Paulk.

Rejoice! Ted Haggard has been cured:

One of four ministers who oversaw three weeks of intensive counseling for the Rev. Ted Haggard said the disgraced minister emerged convinced that he is "completely heterosexual."

Haggard also said his sexual contact with men was limited to the former male prostitute who came forward with sexual allegations, the Rev. Tim Ralph of Larkspur told The Denver Post for a story in Tuesday's edition.

So let's see... Three weeks of intensive, behind-closed-doors counseling with four other (completely heterosexual) ministers resulted in the fixing, curing, and otherwise repairing of Ted Haggard's tendency to have sexual malfunctions of the homo variety.

I think the next step in Haggard's healing is to prove that he still likes vagina. This can most effectively be accomplished by "leaking" a homemade sex tape of Mr. and Mrs. Haggard. I think they should get to work on that immediately.

The article continues:

"He is completely heterosexual," Ralph said. "That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."

Wait, now I'm confused. Isn't it when people "discover" something about themselves that leads them to "acting out" in the first place? Wasn't Haggard "acting out" after he "discovered" that he preferred penis to vagina? I think this guy Ralph has the little cause-and-effect chain in his head mixed up.

Or maybe this guy Ralph is giving and receiving meth-laced massages with Christopher Beard?

At any rate, now that Haggard is a card-carrying heterosexual (thanks to all that intensive therapy with 4 male ministers behind closed doors), the town of Colorado Springs is kicking his ass out:

Another oversight board member, the Rev. Mike Ware of Westminster, said the group recommended the move out of town and the Haggards agreed.

"This is a good place for Ted," Ware said. "It's hard to heal in Colorado Springs right now. It's like an open wound. He needs to get somewhere he can get the wound healed."

Actually, it isn't the town that’s kicking Haggard out, but the ministers that hetero-ized him. The logic is simple. You see, bonefied and certified heterosexual Christian ministers have no place in Colorado Springs or at the New Life Church. Those minister positions are reserved for Godly people who partake in "gentlemanly games" and like to dabble in "crystal."

A "Cured" Ted Haggard Chased Out of Town By His Church

The Rev. Ted Haggard, former senior pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Spring, CO and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, has emerged, bright and shiny, from an undisclosed de-gayification compound somewhere in Arizona, feeling as heterosexual as... well, as heterosexual as any man who's repeatedly paid for gay sex but bases his career on condemning homosexuality can feel, I suppose.

The Rev. Haggard dispatched an email to his former parishioners:

Jesus is starting to put me back together. I have spent so much time in repentance, brokenness, hurt and sorrow for the things I’ve done and the negative impact my actions have had on others. That sadness continues as my family and I, along with so many others, go through the painful consequences of my actions. Jesus and his followers, though, have saved my life. As part of New Life’s efforts to help me, they sent Gayle and me to Phoenix for a three-week psychological intensive that gave us three years worth of analysis and treatment. We all wanted to know why I developed such incongruity in my life. Thankfully, with the tools we gained there, along with the powerful way God has been illuminating His Word and the Holy Spirit has been convicting and healing me, we now have growing understanding which is giving me some hope for a future.

Gayle and I have decided to move from Colorado Springs to go back to school. We love Colorado Springs so much, and will always regard the believers at New Life Church as family, but we have to go in order to let the church determine its own course and for us to retrain. We haven't decided where we are moving but so far have been offered two places, one in Iowa and one in Missouri. We are both planning on getting our masters in Psychology so we can work together serving others the rest of our lives. Since we are taking our classes on-line, we can live anywhere that’s affordable. Then we’ll travel to location for short in-class requirements.

Thank you so much for your love and prayers during this horrific time of transition in our lives. For the last three months, I’ve not been communicative because I’ve been paralyzed by shame. But as God and people like you forgive me, the sun is starting to rise in my life. I look forward to communicating with greater ease.

God Bless,

Ted Haggard
In an interview by the Denver Post, however, it was revealed that these changes in Haggard's life have come at the insistence of his "overseers," a group of pastors who, presumably, are legitimately heterosexual or have not yet had their cover blown. According to one, the Rev. Tim Ralph, Haggard and his wife were "strongly urged" not to return to any kind of ministry. Another, the Rev. Mike Ware, said that they "recommended" that the Haggards move out of town. As for the reason why Haggard is going to pursue a psychology degree (like that other stalwart champion of Christian family values, James Dobson), H.B. London explains:
"Many of us that go into the healing, helping professions do so out of some sort of dysfunction or traumatic event in our lives, and we want to do what we can to help other people avoid what we've gone through," he said. "He is certainly gifted and intelligent and has an intuitive side to him. And he has life experience. Those are good credentials."

Of course, the idea that a crippled physician is driven to solve others' maladies may make for good television, but in real life, I really don't think that I'd like to visit a psychologist who entered the profession specifically because of his own inner turmoil. But it's more likely that he'll specialize in treating other "wayward" Christian men, and therein lies the bitter aftertaste of this odious affair.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ashura: Approved For All Ages

I found a few cool pics from this article on Ashura. Ashura is that lovely Muslim holiday where people mutilate themselves to mourn some joker who was supposed to be the successor to Muhammad. It's a family oriented celebration, and parents enjoy placing their children directly in the action. Specifically, the act of cutting their foreheads and making them bleed all over themselves!

Look at me, mommy!

If I had a baby, nothing would bring me more joy than to cut his or her forehead open and make them bleed everywhere in tribute to some long-dead ancestor or prophet. Yessir.

Seriously though, I happen to have a very opposite-oriented sense of humor. To me, the funniest shit in the world is when sentiments are expressed that are completely inappropriate or the exact opposite of what they should be for a given situation.

Accordingly, when I saw these pictures, I imagined myself in the midst of all the self-mutilation in the bloody streets of some random Muslim city, with little children having their mommies help them cut their foreheads open. Loudspeakers in the city were blaring a song during the festivities. And that song was "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang:

Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let's celebrate)

There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you

Come on now

Let's all celebrate and have a good time
We gonna celebrate and have a good time

It's time to come together
It's up to you, what's your pleasure

Everyone around the world
Come on!

What a crazy world we live in. I guess that I shouldn't be so shocked about this whole Ashura forehead cutting thing, since Muslims tend to believe for example that naked women are worse than bombs.

Everyone around the world, come on!

Anthropic Skatje

Skatje, the intelligent and well-written daughter of PZ Myers, tackles the Anthropic Principle. She gets her points across well, and often. Check out this little snip:

“Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did”: Uh. That proves something? What I see is “Jesus made the most ridiculous claim of them all, so he must be right!”

It's a good, fun read. Go check out the whole post.

The Hellbound Alleee Network keeps expanding

After two weeks of regrouping the best shows on the Internet for your convenience, the Hellbound Alleee Network now features the following shows: The Non Prophets, Rational Response Squad, Evolution 101, The Ingersoll Hour, YouTube All-Stars, and more! Go to our schedule page to see how it all plays out, or listen to our station by pointing your browser at and clicking on the Play button.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Atheism Has Already Won

Austin Cline eloquently expresses what I've already felt for over a year now. Here is a small excerpt:

Atheists today aren't sticking to the scripts or roles so graciously assigned to them by religious authorities. We aren't limiting themselves to the tired old expectations which religious believers have of atheists: that we'll simply go along to get along, that we'll refrain from pointing out what seems obvious to us in order to avoid giving offense, and that we'll "respect" religion, religious beliefs, and theism simply because they are common or traditional. Atheists are refusing to privilege religion generally or Christianity in particular, applying the same methods of criticism and skepticism which everyone applies to most beliefs they don't already agree with.

Christian critics of atheism consider this forthrightness a sign of "panic," but in reality it's a sign that we're just not interested in having our roles dictated to us by them and their insecurities. We're going to be direct, critical, and unapologetic — even if that sounds rude to people who have become far too comfortable with and accustomed to their stations of privilege or rank. If anyone is "panicked," or merely just getting worried, it's the religious theists who are suddenly faced with strong criticisms which their religious leaders have not prepared them to address, much less rebut.

Click on the above link to read the whole thing. Austin Cline rocks.